I recently interviewed the founder of the ‘Disabled Muslim Network’ to find out a bit more about the organisation and the people they’re trying to help. So keep reading to find out  a bit more about them and their amazing work mashaAllah. Leave a comment below to let us know if you or anyone you know is disabled and how charities like these can help you inshaAllah.

1- Where is the organisation based?

The Disabled Muslims Network (DMN) is based in the United Kingdom but is there to support members living worldwide

2- Who is DMN aimed at?

The DMN is aimed at muslims with disabilities and illnesses, their parents, siblings, friends and carers of disabled muslims are all welcome to the DMN.

3- How did you start up DMN?

I started the Dmn in January 2012, after feeling frustrated by the lack of support from our muslim community for muslims with disabilities and their families.

4- Why do you think DMN is important for our community?

The DMN is important for the muslim community so it is able to support those members that need extra assistance for a multitude of issues. This has been lacking in our communities and the DMN is aiming to help spread awareness within our communities and help with support for individual members.

A lot of disabled muslims feel very dissatisfied by the way in which the  community involves them. I.E. There is no involvement  of the muslim community with disabled muslims. and it is paramount that muslim communities begin to provide a sense of community and togetherness for those who have disabilities, along with support for those around them.

7- How can people help/volunteer for DMN?

At the moment I don’t have training programs to train our volunteers, but muslims can help by printing the DMN’s poster and advertising it at their local mosque, islamic centre, madrassa, islamic nursery or school.

They can also help by sharing the DMN’s facebook page or website on their social networking sites.

8- How can people donate to DMN?

donations are very appreciated and will help keep the organisation going. Donate via PayPal to the DMN email address,disabledmuslimsnetwork@hotmail.co.uk

9- What things do you do to raise awareness and fundraise? 

We have flyers which we would like to distribute to mosques and Islamic centres to spread the word, we’re also quite active online through our website and social media to tell people about our organisation.

10- Where does the money we donate to DMN go?

Donations go towards keeping the organisation going. Your help is vital as only with it will we be able to provide support to Muslims with disabilities and to parents with disabled children by setting up regular support groups and events.

11- Finally how can we get in contact with you for more information?

There are various ways of contacting the DMN. Email, facebook private message, website private message or even message the DMN via twitter and instagram.

To all of iHijabi’s members, to find out more about the dmn please head to the dmns Facebook page

To finish I just wanted to share a really inspirational story from a DMN member  who asked DMN to share her story in order to inspire and motivate others with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

ADJUSTING TOO MY NEW LIFE/ The “ Miracle girl!

To start off by saying before the stroke, I was a very happy healthy in love 23 year old woman excited for my soon to be wedding day. When my world came crashing down on the 13 June 2009. I was out with my “then” fiancé having lunch, I complained about a migraine. After lunch he noticed I was losing my balance, so he decided to take me to the nearest hospital. The first diagnosis was a stroke, I had a cerebral bleed a large haemorrhage stroke called arterio venous malformation (AVM), two week vessels ruptured on the bottom left of my brain. My situation was touch and go for the next couple of days and the doctors kept me heavily sedated as they don’t want me to get excited. The best way for the brain to heal is for me to sleep and stay calm.

18th of June, the doctors and neurosurgeons at Vincent Pallotti hospital transferred me to UCT private hospital. At UCT hospital I am known as the “miracle girl “ by the nurses .On the 19th of June Dr Le Feuvre and assisted by Professor Taylor performs the Angiogram. One of the vessels had been coiled, (fused) but the other one is to deeply embed in my brain to be coiled and surgery is not an option, it’s too risky. I’m placed on a ventilator and a feeding tube in place via my nose to my stomach and a machine monitors my blood pressure. Again, they keep me heavily sedated.

Nurses discovered that I had contracted a blood/chest infection. The doctors started talking about a tracheostomy, as it will help me to not contract any more infections. The date has been set, I will be having the tracheostomy. This will be much better for me.

In July I went for a routine CAT scan and MRI scan, overall all was well. The tracheostomy was removed and I can breathe on my own. Doctors were impressed with my improvement.

A few weeks before my discharge date, the doctor called for a family meeting. My condition at the time was still very bad; my family was asked what institution was I going to? My mom burst into a flood of tears and said she was going to look after me! Everyone was shocked at my mom’s reply and at the time I was like a baby all over again. My “then” fiancée at the time demanded to speak to the doctor. He was devastated but his mind was already made up about our relationship back then.

On the 11th of August my sister (Salwa) gave birth to my niece Ilhaam, and on that day I snapped out of the drug induced coma fully and remembered everything except for that day it all happened I remember bits and pieces, but not much. I was very confused as too why I was in hospital all plastered up both arms from my right foot to waist.

After sitting for hours unable to speak, I worried about how i was ever going to walk, perhaps being a serious burden to my dear parents. “Oh Allah (swt) (God),” I prayed. “I do not wish to be an invalid. I desire to recover and to fulfil the true destiny you have planned for me”. Age 23 still young, when I prayed for recovery, little happened.

I had an operation on my right Achilles tendon as it had contracted so badly that they had to operate on the foot to release the muscle in order for me to walk again.I even had staples at the back of my foot.

I received a minimum of three hours daily of physical, occupational and speech therapy to regain my strength, movement, balance, speech and language. Every day was a day of major improvement. I was discharged from hospital on the 3rd of September 2009, although I couldn’t walk, couldn’t move my right side and struggled to do anything. Together my parents, my physician and UCT rehabilitation specialists (together) mapped out a plan of care that included intensive Speech, Physical and Occupational therapy.

On one of my first sessions with my Occupational Therapist (Camilita Barron), as an outpatient, I remember I was told in a stern voice, “You can do anything you want to do, go back to work etc.” She was not going to let me even conceive (of) the idea that I can’t. They, the specialists stressed this upfront so I could get it in my mind. My mindset was crucial. Then we follow through with the appropriate therapies, focusing on specific areas of function necessary to get me where I want to be. After seven months, I was able to get dressed by myself and was allowed (approved) to move from the bed to the chair or bathroom without assistance a big step on the road to independence. I also asked my parents as well to release my carer as I felt I was ready to be on my own. I have been now on my own at home, looking after myself during the day while my parents are at work. Since April 2010.

For the type of stroke I had arterio venous malformation (AVM) or hemorrhage stroke involving the cerebellum, left me with severe loss of coordination, accompanied by slurred speech and blur vision. Over these last three years I have been battling with my coordination to stand, My parents bought me a stationary bicycle which keeps me motivated , increasing oxygenation levels and improving my coordination, speed and endurance. The stationary bicycle helps with increasing strength and motor function.

I am now able to walk with a crutch although I’m not strong enough to walk long and far distance or busy places. When at home i can stand on my own and use the walls of the rooms or the passage to balance and walk.

Before the stroke, “I was more ‘me’ oriented, much self involved “And now, I’m not like that. Now, I’m much more about ‘we.’ How do I use the time that I have to use my experience to make a positive contribution to how we live our lives and for the health and well-being for other people who are in the place that I have been and still am in?

My loving family and my desire get my life back, what the stroke stole from me are my biggest motivation, I want to be the person who achieves a goal despite or because of circumstances.

The Disabled Muslim Network helps support people like this by giving them a forum to network with others in similar situations.

May Allah give all those suffering from illness and disability the strength to get through their trial, may He grant them shifa and alleviate their pain.